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Don't be surprised if you see a fox in the daytime, experts say

A Union County couple is recovering after being attacked by a rabid fox in broad daylight, raising questions about when foxes are most active.

WINGATE, N.C. — A Wingate couple had a big scare this month when a rabid fox attacked them at their home in broad daylight.

Phil and Gail Rollins have spent more than a week receiving treatments for rabies exposure after the attack took place.

“It went after me," Phil Rollins said. "Got me on the back of the leg. Got me on my arm.”

"I could not get it off of me," Gail Rollins added. "I just couldn’t.”

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The story, first shared by WCNC Charlotte earlier this week, prompted questions about whether it's normal to see a fox during the day.

While foxes are primarily nocturnal, or active at night, Critter Control Wildlife Biologist David Crowe said it's not surprising to see them during the day.

"Normally, someone would say, if you see a fox in the daytime, be concerned," Crowe said. "However, this time of year, mom and dad fox are cooperatively feeding two to four pups that are almost adult-size right now. So, they're hunting day and night.”

According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, foxes are shy and generally non-aggressive animals.

They can hide in shrubs and crawl spaces and may be attracted to pet food or garbage.

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When it comes to keeping them away, Crowe said, it's important to keep wood and brush piles removed.

If a fox is spotted, he said, "Walk calmly and directly back indoors and most of the time fox will leave they don't like being around humans…. See one that looks rabid? It's acting funny drunk stumbly call animal control.”

As the Rollins' continue to recover, they offered a word of advice for those who see a fox.

"Don’t think a little 8-pound, 9-pound fox can’t put a hurting on you because they can," Phil Rollins said.

Contact Kayland Hagwood at khagwood@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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